Disclaimer: The following content is intended for adults age 18+. I am not a medical professional and am not giving medical advice. The intention of this blog is not to promote any cosmetic procedure but rather to provide content for informational purposes only, based on my own personal experience. If you are considering any cosmetic procedure, please consult with a medical professional directly.
When I was younger, I never had any issues with my lips, thinking they were too small or in need of enhancement. However, as I grew older, I experienced the side effects of aging…. my lips grew thinner and lost volume. My upper lip became virtually non-existent, especially when viewing my face from the side/profile. I personally believe it’s important for people to find their happiness within and see the beauty that’s been given to each of us. At the same time, many of us have little things that we would like to change here or there, given the opportunity. That’s where I found myself over the past year. Sure, I could continue living without full lips and be just fine, but I reached a point in life where I wanted to do something for myself. I spent 20 years focused solely on my now-adult son with severe autism and disabilities, ignoring myself completely along the way. It was time to give myself a little boost in confidence, something small that would put the smile back on my face and make me look more than once in the mirror each day. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with that.
Preparing and Researching
Before undergoing my lip augmentation, I literally spent months learning about it online, talking to friends who have had it done, and researching providers in my area who were truly qualified to do it. It’s truly critical that you not run to the first place you see, the one doing the most television advertising, or even your local dentist or general practitioner who suddenly started doing this on the side. You want someone who has worked with fillers for several years, does it on a daily basis, has the proper education and training, and has a portfolio of satisfied customers they are willing to share. Also look them up on your state’s health department website to make sure their license is active with no disciplinary actions against them. Skip this step, and it can alter your life forever. Ever watched the tv show called “Botched”?
After several months, I found an experienced practitioner and scheduled a consult. The place I chose offered a free consult, where the nurse/doctor spent a long time explaining everything to me, taking photos, and answering all of my questions. Be careful of places that produce a laundry list of other things you “really need.” I knew I picked the right person when I asked about having fillers done under my eyes and was told I didn’t need them. Too many places will sell you everything just for the money, whether you need it or not.
Types of Lip Fillers
There are various brands of fillers that can be put into the lips, most of which are made of hyaluronic acid but just made by different companies. Not all cosmetic fillers can be put into the lips, so it’s important to understand what you’re getting. Some brand names will be more expensive than others. They basically do the same thing, but some may provide some small, subtle benefits over the others. It’s very important to understand what options your provider provides. My choices were between Juvederm and Restylane Silk. Juvederm was the more expensive option, while Restylane was around $100 cheaper. Where you live, your state and country, often determines which brand of fillers are available to you. For example, there are brands available in Canada that we don’t have in the USA and vice versa.
The Actual Procedure – What to Expect
When I scheduled my consultation, I asked them to book enough time to actually perform the procedure that visit. If you don’t do this and are certain you want it done, you may have to return at another time for the procedure itself. For my first visit, it took about 1.25 hours, including the consultation, numbing time, injections, follow-up instructions. I had Botox done on my forehead in the same visit also.
After discussing the procedure, my practitioner applied a numbing cream/gel all over my mouth (on top of the mouth and the surrounding area to numb all the nerves). Because I told her I have an increased sensitivity to pain, she applied a 2nd licdocaine product inside of my mouth on the mucous membranes to numb it inside and out (the same product that dentists use). After 5 minutes or so, she gave me an ice pack to apply to my lips to numb it further, and I kept this on another 5-8 minutes or so until I literally couldn’t feel anything (or hardly talk without drooling everywhere). You may not need all this, but I’m hypersensitive.
I was injected with 1 syringe of Juvederm during the first visit. One syringe is enough to restore the natural volume to your lips without it looking overdone or like a duck. Most of the IG/YouTube influencers and celebrities you see have 2-3 syringes put into their lips. If this is your first time, that’s too much, and your lips may not be able to hold it properly. As far as the pain, it wasn’t very painful. Certain parts of the lips may be more sensitive. The pain ranged from nothing to a small bee sting, or from a 1 to a 4 on a 10 point scale.
After the Procedure and Final Thoughts
After the procedure, I was given an ice pack with home instructions to care for my lips over the next 24-48 hours. Caring for them properly is important to ensure the look that you want. The filler is still malleable for a day or so after they’re put into your lips, so if you feel any bumpy areas or feel like the filler has shifted a little, it’s your job as the patient to continue massaging your lips. Once the filler sets, it’s there unless you go back and get them dissolved. After-care was pretty easy. The day after the procedure, they were pretty swollen, and honestly, I liked the look of them while they were swollen. The swelling subsides over the next few days, and I experienced just a little bruising. The bruising was subtle enough that I could cover it with lipstick. In my follow-up visit, I was told that if you are very active or take any type of blood thinners, it will make the bruising worse. I didn’t realize that Ibuprofen fell into the blood thinner category, so that’s probably why I had a little more bruising that lasted several day. Lesson learned.
I went back to the office 1.5 weeks later for a follow-up. In that visit, I had just a little more filler injected into one small area of the right side of my lips. Once the practitioner starts injecting your lips, they begin swelling immediately, so it can be difficult to see if they’re perfectly even on the first visit versus if some of the fullness is due to swelling. That’s what happened in my case, but my practitioner was nice enough to fill in that small area to make them 100% perfect!
Would I undergo this procedure again? Absolutely! You have to give your fillers 2-3 weeks to settle in completely and get used to the new shape of them on your face, but I love them more and more as time goes by. I will probably return in the next 2 months and have a 2nd syringe of filler put in. If you’re interested, I’ll post an update after that and show the results. It’s given me back some confidence, and it makes me stop and look twice when I walk past the mirror. I don’t mean that in a stuck-up way. It just makes me feel a little better about myself, and if a small procedure like this can give back just a little confidence and put a smile on my face, it’s definitely worth it! It feels good to take care of myself for a change.
A Few More FAQs
- What if I don’t like my lip fillers or have issues with them? Can they be removed? Yes, as long as you receive a filler made with hyaluronic acid, it can be dissolved by your provider with injections.
- How long do they last? The answer to this varies on several unique factors such as your metabolism and how active you are (do you frequently work out or are otherwise active). On average, you can expect your lip fillers to last an average of 8 months or so. However, the hyaluronic acid in fillers is naturally metabolized by the body, so if you’re a very active person or have a high metabolism, your fillers may not last as long.
- Is there a benefit of Juvederm over Restylane or vice versa? I was told that Juvederm will sometimes last just a little bit longer than Restylane Silk does. It has a firmer look and feel, texture-wise. If you want to look and feel the most natural, you may talk to your provider about Restylane Silk instead. I was told that Restylane will give a very natural appearance and feel, but it can cause more initial swelling and bruising immediately after the procedure. In the end, they contain the same hyaluronic acid ingredient but are just made by 2 different brand companies.
- How much does it cost? Cost will vary depending on your location and your provider’s clientele or experience. In other words, you can go to a famous Hollywood doctor and spend much more just because of who the doctor is. Cost varies by the products available in each area. In my location, the average cost for 1 syringe is approximately $425 – $600. Do NOT select a provider based on price alone because that person may not have the best experience to give you the outcome you desire. At the same time, be sure to ask about any specials they may offer or how often they offer them. I got a Christmas special where my Botox was included when I paid for the Juvederm. Every clinic will have different price structures and opportunities. Some may offer discounts for subsequent visits, for combined services, and referrals.
- Does it hurt? You will feel slight discomfort, anywhere from a pinch to a bee sting. However, your provider should numb you as best as possible to minimize the discomfort. It definitely looks worse than it feels.
- How much do I need for full lips? It’s important for your practitioner to evaluate your unique lips and needs to determine how much filler you’ll require to achieve the outcome you want. Assuming it’s your first time, I would never get more than 1 syringe of filler at a time. You can always add more later, but it’s more of a hassle to dissolve it if you put too much in and don’t like it. As a general guideline, if you’re looking for a more natural look with just a little more volume, one syringe should do the trick. To achieve the large full lips you see on celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, it will require 2-3 syringes. But that isn’t something you want to do on the first visit. Allow your lips the time to adjust and accept the additional volume you add.
Here’s a small video clip showing some of my procedure. Photos are below showing the various stages of the process: before fillers, immediately after, 24 hours later, and 3 weeks later (without makeup and lipstick).
BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS
Have questions or feedback? Be sure to comment below or on my Instagram page and join the conversation!
This blog is non-sponsored. I paid for the above services myself, and was not compensated for this blog.